Timely substitutions lift Fruita to win in Major Girls tourney
Fruita Little League Major Girls manager Josh Zambrano found out how important the timing of his substitutions can be.
Saturday at the first day of the Major Girls Little League State Tournament at Fruita Little League, Zambrano called upon ShaRae Dorscher to pinch hit in the fourth inning against District 2 representative Shaw Heights during a scoreless game.
Facing Shaw Heights pitcher Constance Sisneros, Dorscher laced an RBI single that scored Regan Wood.
Dorscher’s hit gave Fruita the needed momentum to advance with a 5-0 victory.
“(ShaRae) was a sub today, but she’s played a lot for us,” Zambrano said. “She tends to come through in the clutch for us.”
Saturday’s win moves Fruita into today’s 10 a.m. game against Academy at Fruita Little League.
Fruita played at Grand Mesa Little League for the District 1 tournament, and by winning District 1, Fruita was able to host the state tournament.
The state tournament atmosphere provided a level of stress that both teams weren’t used to.
“We knew if we won districts what a treat it would be to play out here,” Zambrano said. “I think seeing all the people out here played into us being flat the first couple of innings.”
Fruita had the chance to take the lead earlier than the fourth inning, but left runners in scoring position in the first and second innings.
“I tell my girls that the first run is the toughest one,” Zambrano said. “But I think nerves played a big part early. We missed a couple of signs and didn’t lay down a bunt when we should have.”
Although Fruita was only able to get one across in the fourth, Dorscher’s hit sparked Fruita’s bats.
In the fifth inning with two outs, Fruita had consecutive RBI singles from Morgan Hyde, Olivia Bratt and Wood to give Fruita the 5-0 lead.
“We do great things with two outs,” Zambrano said. “That inning broke it open for us, and it wasn’t the prettiest win, but it was a good win.”
Fruita’s late offensive push was propelled by pitcher Lauren Reed shutting down Shaw Heights’ bats.
Reed didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, and gave up only three hits in the win.
Reed isn’t the most overpowering pitcher, but attacked the strike zone all game.
“What she did tonight, she brings to every game,” Zambrano said. “She only walked two girls and she’s just a fighter.”
Reed pitched all six innings, which allows Fruita to have its No. 2 and No. 3 pitchers, Bratt and Hyde, available for today’s game against Academy.
“I don’t know a lot about Academy beside the fact they are tough year in and year out,” Zambrano said “I’m just glad to get the first win under our belt, and we’ll be ready to play (Sunday) morning.”
Shaw Heights moves into Monday night’s game, and plays the loser of today’s game at 5:30 p.m.